It has been a long time since I been on the blogosphere. Maybe that’s because I have been afraid of what would happen when I came back or maybe it was the fact that I did not know what to say. My heart is heavy and broken and I feel like I am in a nightmare that not even coffee can fix.
Almost a month ago I lost my mother. The women who gave me life. She suffered through a long battle with diabetes and heart disease. As many of you know she suffered a stroke and refused treatment. She was sent to hospice where a little over a week later on September 11, 2016 she took her final breath.
My close friends and family will tell you that I did not have the best relationship with my mother. It was not until right before Evie was born that we started working on our relationship. Soon after that, I found myself not being able to start my day with out my morning phone call from my mom between crossfit class and driving to the office. She became my friend and my mentor. She told me things that I never thought she would. She encouraged me, prayed for me, always asked about “her” girls, what was going on with work, and how was running going. She told me about the ups and downs she was having with her health and her husband. It always broke my heart to hear about her struggles cause I knew there was nothing I could do but to be encouraging and to be the ear she needed.
After she passed, the next few days were insane. I actually went back to work for two days and was surprised at how much I needed the distraction. The visitation was amazing cause I got to see people who I have not seen in years. My Grandma’s best friend, coworkers, former youth group member, my best friends parents, and my crossfit coach made the trip to provide comfort and to pay respects to both me and my mother. I felt loved and appreciated.
The funeral was special. We had a small turn out but it was on a Monday and I understand that people have jobs. My wife and I started the day with a trip to Starbucks. We talked about the visitation and how much it was important for us to keep our family together. When the funeral started my mother’s favorite doctor and coworker spoke about how much she meant to him and to the practice that she devoted her whole being to. It made me feel proud of the work she did and the person she was.
That weekend, my stepdad, brother, sister-in-law, nieces, bother from another mother, his girlfriend, my wife and kids headed down to Oak Island to do as my mother wished and spread her ashes on the beach. We stayed at a beach house and spent the whole Saturday playing on the beach, fishing, and eating pizza. It was a great family time that I will never forget.
Sunday morning came and we packed our bags and loaded the car. Before we headed back to Charlotte we gathered on the beach and prayed as a family. My brother and I took our mother’s remains and some flowers and walked to the shallows of the ocean. We poured the ashes and watched the sea carry our mother out. I placed the flowers in the water and watched as they floated away. I held back the tears but was left with a memory burned in my mind forever.
The feeling of not having any parents is a strange one. I often find myself picking up my phone to call her only to get the phone halfway to my ear and realizing that she is not there to answer. I feel there is a void in my heart. Where do you go from here? I am an orphan. I miss her more than I can even say in this post. I am angry that I did not have more time with her and all those years we were mad at each other were wasted. I am mad that she suffered with her health for so long and that she could not seem to do what she wanted cause her body would not let her.
I am thankful for the time we did have and the conversations we had. My mom was always the best person to talk to. She offered advice even when you never asked for it. She loved her grandkids so much. They were the lights of her life. She cooked with her heart just like my grandmother. She loved to have family over and to plan family gatherings. The Manus Family Christmas Party was her favorite cause it is a tradition passed down from her parents to the her siblings and I hope to us now.
One thing that my mother hoped for and unfortunately did not happen when she was alive was that now my brother and I have a relationship. We are working on our relationship. We have made it a point to talk everyday, to plan family events, and put out past differences away. We are all we have left and I am excited to see where this will go. This is what mom would have wanted. For her two boys to get along and be a family.
This blog entry has taken me three weeks to write. I had to stop and take a break and let myself grieve and feel. Now here it is my youngest daughters birthday and all I want is for her to be here. To watch her wear her princess crown, to sing “Happy Birthday”, to watch her open presents, and to smile and laugh as she loved to do. I know she is looking down on us and watching us but I can’t help but feel like we will all be ok. We will have our moments where the grief is too much to take. We will need time to cry. As soon as we are done, to keep doing what she wanted which was the following:
“Love one another unconditionally and do for others daily. Above all, laugh- a lot.”
Love you Mom!